A provision in HB 1305 concerning an obligation not to hang out in the left lanes has received some attention lately. I’m not sure how much coverage the actual text of the statute has received, so here it is:
SECTION 69. IC 9-21-5-9 IS AMENDED TO READ AS
FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 9. (a) A vehicle that travels at a speed less than the established maximum shall travel in the right lanes to provide for better flow of traffic on the interstate highways.
(b) This subsection applies to the operation of a vehicle:
(1) on a roadway that has two (2) or more lanes of traffic in each direction; and
(2) in the left most lane, other than a lane designated for high occupancy vehicles.
Except as provided in subsection (c), a person who knows, or should reasonably know, that another vehicle is overtaking from
the rear the vehicle that the person is operating may not continue to operate the vehicle in the left most lane.
(c) Subsection (b) does not apply:
(1) when traffic conditions or congestion make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;
(2) when inclement weather, obstructions, or hazards make it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;
(3) when compliance with a law, a regulation, an ordinance, or a traffic control device makes it necessary to operate a vehicle in the left most lane;
(4) when exiting a roadway or turning to the left;
(5) when paying a toll or user fee at a toll collection facility;
(6) to an authorized emergency vehicle operated in the course of duty; or
(7) to vehicles operated or used in the course of highway maintenance or construction.
(d) A person who violates this section commits a Class C infraction.
Less remarked upon is the existing provision in IC 9-21-5-7, amended somewhat by current legislation which reads:
Sec. 7. (a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle at a slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law. A person who is driving:
(1) on a roadway that has not more than one (1) lane of traffic in each direction; and
(2) at a slow speed so that three (3) or more other vehicles are blocked and cannot pass on the left around the vehicle;
shall give right-of-way to the other vehicles by pulling off to the right
of the right lane at the earliest reasonable opportunity and allowing the
blocked vehicles to pass.
(b) A person who fails to give right-of-way as required by subsection (a) commits a Class C infraction.
People are having fun with the tacit accommodation of the fact that people speed, and I suppose that’s fair. But the concepts at play here aren’t that tough. Motorists aren’t responsible for enforcing speed limits. If you want to go the same speed as a motorist in the right lane, do it behind that motorist and not to their left. If you want to get in front of the person ahead of you, do it quickly.
Generally there seem to be two or three things that lead to people hanging out in the left lane – 1) Not trusting other motorists to also play by the rules, resulting in you getting trapped in the right lane; 2) Not being comfortable with your ability to use passenger’s side rear view (I speculate due to the inordinate number of mini-vans hanging out in the left lane); and maybe 3) being an oblivious jerk. This law would seem to be an attempt to address items #1 and 3 to some extent.
Also, when was the last time you saw someone pull over to the side when they had three or more cars behind them?